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Image of sweat lodges are misguided, experts say

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Ceremonial sweat lodges are an integral part of Native American cultures as a means to encourage spiritual and physical cleansing. Sweat lodges — enclosed structures where heat from either steam or hot stones is used to make participants sweat as part of a cleansing ritual — are a staple of Native American cultures in North and Central America, said Johnny P. Flynn, an assistant professor of religious studies and director of the American Indian program at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.